Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review: The Sky is Everywhere- Jandy Nelson

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

This came highly recommended from a friend of mine a few months back, so I was ecstatic to get it for Christmas! Nelson has interspersed her debut novel with (very good) poetry that adds a whole new unique dimension to a book that deals excellently with the topic of grief. I myself am one of two sisters, so I really connected the emotional whirlwind Lennie felt towards Bailey, the 'brighter star.' 

Abandonment is also a big theme, and I liked the way it was handled; although Lennie's mom's absence is at first glossed over by her grandmother in terms of how right it was, the true story is tackled towards the end.

The Sky is Everywhere features a very colorful cast of characters: when Lennie's best friend Sarah gets excited 'random animals pop into her speech like she has an Old MacDonald Had a Farm kind of Tourette syndrome', and her uncle Big is the town Casanova as well as a part time wannabe necromancer.

Then there's Joe, the musical savant from France, part of the incredibly good looking group of brothers taking Lennie's hometown by storm. Their romance was sweet, if a little idealistic, and I think the integration of music into their relationship was done well without being cheesy. I didn't quite get Lennie's relationship with Toby, but I respected the fact that she definitely didn't get off easy for her choices. Overall, a strong debut- I'm looking forward to more from Ms. Nelson!


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  1. This was my favourite read from last year. I picked it up on a whim from the library having heard of it in passing online and completely fell in love with it. I also can't wait for more of Jandy Nelson's writing.

  2. Great review - like Keri, this was book of the year for me.

  3. I don't generally write reviews, but I thoght this book was definitley worth it. This was a beautiful book. It was one that was a lot of fun to read and share the emotions of the characters, which were many, but they were like real people. Also, for poetry or non-poetry fans, which I am, she includes poetry throughout the book in such a fun creative way that made me want to read poetry. I can't wait for more from Jandy and I think everybody should go and get a copy for this first time author. Great book.


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